mushroom stock

January 11, 2014



I made this stock to go with the mushroom barley stew with stout but it’s good enough to just drink as a soup on a cold winter’s day.

4 cups mushroom trimmings and/or mushrooms, wiped clean

1 onion with skin, chopped

1 cup dried shiitake

1 tbsp porcini powder

3 tsps salt

2 rosemary sprigs


Place all the ingredients in a large stock pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down. Let simmer for 40 minutes on low heat. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 more minutes. Strain. Cool. Store for use as needed.

shiitake kombu dashi

April 6, 2013


I mentioned last week that I was doing some spring cleaning in my fridge. Well, not only did I find a bunch of winter vegetables for this fabulous winter stew, I also found some gorgeous shiitake mushrooms that had dried their way to spring in a brown bag. They were fine, just brittle and forgotten. But nothing was lost because I threw them in a pot with water and kombu and, presto, I had awesome shiitake kombu dashi. What is shiitake kombu dashi? It’s an amazing stock made from mushrooms and seaweed that can be used in soups (especially as the base to miso soup), to cook rice, as a broth when you’re in need of soul food, or to simmer vegetables to give them added flavour.

1 1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms

2/3 oz dried kombu kelp

2 litres water

Throw the shiitake and kombu in a large stock pot. Add water and heat until the water just starts to boil. Before it begins to really boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 50 minutes. Remove the shiitake and kombu and strain the stock through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or tea towels.

bean stock

February 8, 2012

bean stock, vegan stock, vgourmet, Ruth Richardson

Hardly a recipe, but essential for good food, deep flavours, and economies in the kitchen. When you are cooking beans, which I hope you do once in awhile, add a few bay leaves, some garlic cloves, maybe a carrot and a stalk of celery. When your beans are done, take out the accoutrements (bay leaves, garlic, carrot etc.) and discard. Then, when you drain the beans, don’t let that gorgeous bean stock get wasted down the kitchen sink! Save it. It’s luscious, and full of flavour, and works wonders in blackened rice, or moroccan tagine, or other bean-friendly dishes. Drain the beans off into a big bowl. Let the stock cool down, and then freeze it in different sized containers to use at your leisure. You won’t be sorry you took the extra 5 minutes to do so. Promise.

P.S. I learned from Cook’s Illustrated the other day that if you add a piece of kombu (seaweed) to your beans while cooking, it makes the beans more tender and flavourful. I think they’re right! Try it out.

veggie stock

February 28, 2010

vgourmet, Ruth Richardson, veggie stock, soup stock, vegan stock, vegetable stock

I’m making the Potato Leek Soup right now (as promised to my 8-year-old, Sammy, last night, based on his adorable comment). I realize as I wait for the soup to simmer away that I should also give you my stock recipe. There is probably nothing as comforting as the smell of veggie stock simmering away on the stove. The aroma fills the house with its age-old medicinal power to cure what ails you.

Stock recipes don’t vary much across the board but the original idea for this one in particular came from a cooking class I took at Harvest Restaurant with Chef Michael Potters. He sautés the veggies before adding water. I don’t. I just stick it all in a big pot and let it stew away. He also adds wine at the end which I don’t. For me the jury is still out on that one. I know a lot  of chefs who roast their veggies beforehand which gives the stock a deeper flavour and a bit more sweetness. However you decide to make it, make a huge batch in a big stock pot and then freeze it in different size containers. I love having stock around for soup, risotto, paella, or just cooking vegetables stove-top. I’ve come to believe that it’s one thing you should never buy because there is no comparison between home-made and store-bought stock. Freeze it in large containers (for soups etc.) and small (ice-cube trays for sautéed veggies). Use liberally.

12 cups cold water

2 medium onions (any colour), peeled and quartered

6 medium young sweet carrots, chopped in large chunks

4 celery stalks, chopped in large chunks

4 leeks, topped and chopped in half

8 unpeeled garlic cloves

2 small bulbs fennel, quartered

1 large bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary, oregano, other robust herbs of choice)

20 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

Put water in a heavy, large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. As the water is coming to a boil, clean and chop onions, carrots, celery, leeks, and fennel. Add them to the water.

Next add the garlic, bouquet garni, peppercorns, and bay leaves.  Once water reaches a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 10 – 20 minutes, skimming the surface of the stock to eliminate residue.

If you want to add some wine, add a cup or so and let it simmer for an additional 10 minutes. If not, turn off the heat and let the stock cool before straining out the vegetables. The stock will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge, or can be packed into containers and stored for several weeks in the freezer.

thick mushroom stock

January 30, 2010

This goes with the Winter Portobello Stew but could be used for other yummy mushroom-y things.

1/4 cup or more dried porcini mushrooms

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion, coarsely chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 large garlic clove, chopped

2 mushrooms, sliced, plus any trimmings

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried (or I use thyme)

1/2 cup dry white or red wine (red makes it much heartier)

1 tablespoon flour

salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Cover dried mushrooms with 1 1/2 cups hot water and set aside. Heat oil in saucepan over high heat. Add chopped onion, carrot, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until well-browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, stir in tomato paste, marjoram and wine, and sprinkle on flour. Cover pan and cook until wine is reduced to syrupy glaze, about 3 minutes. Add porcini and their soaking water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a little pepper and vinegar and simmer 20 minutes. Strain well (although if you are adding this stock to a stew, like the Winter Portobello Stew, leave the veggies and just add the whole shebang). Concentrate stock by simmering it, uncovered, until desired strength. Makes about 1 cup.

– Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.